Transcript of the Opening Plenary Session, March 9, 2006
Dear friends. I would like to thank everybody assembled in this room, especially our partners from other countries for having come here, for being ready to provide help to us, to share the experience in an endeavour, that is very new to us - the organisation of a dialogue of representatives of civil society with the official G8, with the representatives of the G8. For Russia it is a first experience of that kind.
Two and a half months ago the initiators, the representatives of non-profit-organisations of Russia and civil society gathered together to think about, how to use this opportunity, to give a new impetus to the development of the civil society in Russia, how to use this opportunity to organise better contacts with our counterparts from abroad, how to use this opportunity to make it possible for our Russian NGOs to take more active part in this international process. We thought about this and we put forward this project of “Civil G8 - 2006”. It has become to develop. I am extremely grateful to the members of the National working group, which was formed of the initiators of that process, to my colleagues and friends - Auzan, Tsyplenkov, Dzhibladze, Tania Monegen and others, that they had the courage to assume that responsibility. I am also very grateful to those respected and reputable personalities in this country, people like Victor Antonovich Sadovnichij, who is present here, Alexander Nikolaevich Shohin, also present here, Ljudmila Alexeeva (unfortunately, she is not here among us) and many others, who agreed to become members of the Advisory council. And I am even more grateful to our colleagues, representatives of international networks – Nigel Martin from Canada, who is present here, he has done a lot to help us, Peter Ritchie and many others, who agreed to become members of the Advisory council and are ready to invest effort and time in order to help us organize this process. I would like to reiterate - thank very much for everybody, who came here.
It is my hope, that together with you we will try maybe not only to lead this process to a new qualitative level, but insure transparency of this process, the principles, on which we are trying to build our activity. In my view, it is very important, that we tried to invite our colleagues from Russian regions. The members of the National working group and I did not even expect, that there will be so much interest on their part, that many our colleagues from the regions would be willing to participate.
There was one serious problem – we had more people willing to participate, than we could accommodate. We now think, how to organise some additional round-tables to involve everyone from the Russian regions in communication with our foreign partners to discuss the agenda. And not only the agenda of the official G8, but also the problems, that concern the civil society. They are not on the agenda, but we cannot escape these problems. It is important, that in future they could find their implementation or their reflection in the agenda to be used our leaders in Russia, Germany and elsewhere. It is extremely important, because our foreign counterparts rather deal with the representatives of Moscow organisations, than of regional organisations. And the fact, that two hundred representatives of the regional organisations expressed their wish to participate is very important. But the most important thing is the live contacts. I do not say it is more important, than the essence of our discussion, but it is important - this will help the representatives of the Russian NGO-community to find its rightful place in this process. We have a lot of problems: I mean civil organisations in Russia. But the rumours of the demise of the civil society in Russia are really exaggerated. It is still very much alive and is developing according to its own laws. And the fact that you, our foreign partners, are by our side is extremely important to us.
Our main task is not to suppress anyone, not to direct the process of civil discussion into a convenient track for the official authorities. Our main task is to provide a playground, a platform and to see what points of view there exist. We do not want to have a general uniform position. If we come to a uniform position regarding some issues of the agenda it is good. If we have got opposing points of view, it is important to professionally express them and to demonstrate them. It is the most important task we face to offer an opportunity to demonstrate the points of view, all the problems that really concern the civil society within the framework of the G8 summit. So I would like to wish all of us successful work. And I would like to give the floor to our partners and colleagues to speak in greater detail about the process. At the end of the short meeting we will come to an agreement of how to organise our work next. Please, Victoria Panova, she is the member of the National working group.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends and colleagues! We are very glad to greet you here. We are really very happy, that our event, the process of Civil G8 has such a huge interest in Russia, in the regions, in Moscow and also abroad. We do hope, that we worthy continue the traditions of our foreign colleagues. I would like to tell you briefly about what G8 is since this is a new process for Russia. And although we are not newcomers there, it is the first time Russia is presiding in the G8. Not so many people know enough about this mechanism. And in order to understand how the civil society could invest or interact with this structure, with this mechanism, I think one needs to understand the nature of this institution. Background met 70-s, we will see that the reasons that result in the creation of the G7 which later turned into G8, when Russia joined it. It changed, and generally some features disappeared, but some remained. Let’s take two energy crises that were reasons for creation of this institution. And we see now that the issue of energy security is on the top of the agenda of the Russian presidency. So this issue is still topical. Another reason was that the developing countries that time joined their efforts; they became independent and started demanding from the Western countries the opportunity of a more involvement in international processes, both economic and political. And this problem has changed because of time but it still remains here. We see that within the G8-framework the problems of sustainable development, reduction in poverty and the problems of the African continent at the first place are of particular importance. Another reason that started the G8 was the need to establish a mechanism of interaction within three power-centres, among the Western countries themselves, since you understand that within the Western countries there are certain problems as well and they need to be solved. But the G8 is an institution where all the decisions are taken by the consensus and differences that exist, now all eight countries are usually not taking outside the organization.
So, what is G8? That is the assembly of eight industrial developed democratic states. Why is it important? It is, because in terms of political, economic, military and other capacity they occupy the leading place. Four members of the group are the permanent members of the UN Security Council. They are members of various international organizations. If we have a look at such serious financial institutions as World Bank and IMF, G7/G8 quite often has a decisive influence there. Nevertheless, G8 can not be called an organization in the pure form. It does not have a Charter; it does not have a Secretariat. And the summits that are held within the G8 framework are annual events. In principle each year starting from 1975, then - on each summit, decision was taken that next year the leaders would gather again in one of the G8 countries; the rotating presidency principle was adopted. The summit in 2002 in Kananaskis, Canada, for the first time introduced the order of the presidency; it was determined that for at least eight years the group would work, exist and live. The most important point is that for the first time in history it was decided that in 2006 Russia would be the president of this leading world mechanism.
When we interact with G8, when we set certain needs, wishes and demands, we need to understand that in spite of its huge influence and capacity it is not an organization that has unlimited power. It has no mechanism of force; it is not a global directorate as many experts, politicians or non-politicians rather try to represent it. So, the main task of the G8 countries and leaders of those countries is to achieve consensus on the most important, priority issues for international community and correspondingly advance these issues through legitimate legal institutions, such as UN at the first place; and other organizations, including regional - the African union, if we take the peacekeeping issues and development issues, IMF, World Bank and others. So, briefly, as I said, summits are held annually, but this is not the only G8 meeting in the year. There are also ministerial meetings. Foreign ministers meet annually during UN General Assembly and right before the summit. There are four meetings of foreign ministers a year and there are also meetings of sectoral ministers. Healthcare ministers, education ministers and energy ministers also gathered for the meetings within the G8 framework. Personal representatives of the leaders are responsible for the agenda. Those are the Sherpas, whom we are to meet this evening and to get information about the official process. They have additional staff which includes foreign, financial sous-Sherpas, political directors; ministries of foreign affaires contribute a lot to the G8 process. And there are also different working expert groups in certain areas that help G8 to go deeper into the problems. So, I think, this informal nature and the need of the consensus helps G8 to be one of the leading, the most influential and the most efficient mechanisms that move forward many global problems, which are on the agenda, and help the world to get closer to the resolution of these problems. Let’s do a vast as the socially responsible civil society to help the leaders in this noble work. Thank you.
Thank you. It is also very important for them to hear our voice. It is a great task of ours. And now I would like to say once again that we are not working instead of someone, we are not rejecting anybody. We are ready to cooperate with anti-globalists. For tomorrow we invited those people, so, that they could present their positions. So, we are ready to interact with everyone and all the people interested in this process are invited to cooperate with us. We are not monopolizing this right, this process. All interested bodies are invited to contact with us. Now I give the floor to our colleague from Toronto University, Mister Peter Hajnal, who will share the experience of interaction of the public, civil society, non-profit organizations with the leaders of G8 or G7 whatever it was in the past.
Thank you very much. I would like to greet you, dear friends and dear colleagues! What I would like to do here is to review very briefly the history of interaction between the G7, now - G8 and civil society. I would like to highlight some interesting phenomenon in this process during last year summit. Perhaps, talk very briefly about some prospects for the Russian summit. And finally, perhaps, present a few ideas for possible civil society interaction with the G8. All of these in ten minutes.
As my colleague, Victoria Panova, mentioned, the G8 is not a formal organization. It is relatively free of bureaucracy that never chartered and so forth. And that imposes particular ways of civil society interaction, so, by necessity the interaction of civil society also has to be much more informal than, say, to UN, where it is very structured. I would divide the history of this interaction into four phases. This is just my view and, of course, I would also welcome other points of view. During the first phase of summitry between 1975 and 1980 there was very limited interaction between the two sides. Generally, civil society did not recognize the power and influence of the G7 at that time. And the G7 on its part really did not take official notice of NGOs and civil society.
In the second phase, from 1981 to 1994, I would say, the civil society was first to recognize the G7 being the powerful group, that it is. And by that time the G7 agenda had expanded to embrace many global issues beyond the original focus on economic matters. The third phase, from 1995 to 1997, - so, G7 and G8 on its part to recognize the civil society explicitly; and that was in Canada, in my country, in Halifax 1995. That summit used the term “Civil Society” in official documents and ever since then this has been the case in various contexts. This includes ministerial meetings as well as the summits, which are at the pick of the pyramid. The fourth phase, I would say, started with the Birmingham summit in 1998 and it is still continuing. That has been characterized by civil society becoming much more powerful, more sophisticated and in many ways more influential. Not enough, but more influential. I will just very briefly highlight a couple of crucial summits, other than these that I mentioned. In Genoa, Italy, in 2001 there was much more ominous development, when we saw on the one hand, peaceful demonstrations of the vast majority of NGOs present. But we also saw some anarchist violence and other manifestations of what is sometimes called the “uncivil society”. And unfortunately, there was violence; there was a death of the demonstrator.
Nevertheless, vigor civil society action continued in different forms after Genoa. There was a bit of a hiatus in 2004 at the summit of Sea-Island in the United States, where the current US administration showed very little inclination to really interact with civil society. Nevertheless, the NGOs were there. They made their presence felt in many other ways. Now, last year, at Gleneagles the British host of the summit engaged in very meaning full consultations. And I believe that my colleague, Peter Ritchie, to refer to that. So, that is a very significant structure of development. And I am very pleased to see that this year both, the Russian government on its part and Russian civil society on its part is ready and willing and increasingly more prepared to interact with the G8. Now, I would like to say just a few more words about the Gleneagles summit and surrounding civil society action. There was unprecedented development last year of broad civic involvement beyond organized NGOs themselves. One example was the series of Live Eight concerts over the world. There was one in Moscow as well; this is Bob Geldof and Bono music celebrities. One normally would not think of them as part of NGO-civil society world, but it was part of this broader interaction… Very visible … Many people attended to hear music without buying a ticket, free of charge. But they were exposed to these global issues and it was very useful in many ways. So, celebrities were actually very important. And beyond Geldof and Bono there were church officials including, I believe, the office of the archbishop of Canterbury and many others: the Pope talked, the Secretary General of UN and other celebrities. There was another view expressed.
Mrs. Pamfilova referred to other voices of anti-globalists. There was a parallel summit which is something that happens almost every year. And last year it was anti-G8. They did not wish to engage in influencing or dialoguing with the G8; their objective was to do ideological battle with the G8. So, it is an interesting phenomenon. Some parallel summits in the past were more mutually cooperative, so, there is no single pattern in this.
I will say a few words about civil society reaction to the summit of Gleneagles, very briefly on the major issues of the agenda. And as a reminder – last year central agenda items were Africa and climate change, both of which are crucial to civil society the world over, not only in the South, but everywhere. Civil society reaction last year tended to be negative on balance, although there was acknowledgement and even praise for progress in certain areas.
The impact of civil society is something that is very difficult to assess and even more difficult to measure. But one particular indicator is open acknowledgment of civil society’s influence in actual documents issued by the summit itself. And importantly last year the actual G8-communiqué (two communiqués actually; one – on Africa, one – on climate change) did not refer expressly to NGOs or civil society. Now, other declarations of the summit did refer to the NGOs. And that should tell us something I am still trying to puzzle out what it means. Nevertheless, another indicator can be found in the comments of the chair, the president of the summit which last year was Tony Blair of Britain. And at his final press-conference at the end of the summit he acknowledged that civil society’s voice has been heard, he would have liked to see more progress along the lines that NGOs advocated, but it was not always possible, because the summits are after all international governmental negotiations which is another or other process.
The history of civil society-G8 relations shows that essentially there are four modes, four types of interaction. One is dialogue, consultation. The second is demonstrations, these tended to be largely peaceful, but in some summits there was small minority, but attracting very large media attention, of not so peaceful demonstrators. Also in this category would be actual advocacy on the part of civil society and monitoring compliance and implementation after the summits. The third – parallel summits and I did speak about them a bit. And finally – actual partnership between civil society and the G7/G8. This has happened very seldom, but this would be perhaps the most desirable outcome. One good example is the digital opportunities task force, information technology and so forth, which was a truly multi-stakeholder involvement.
Finally, I would like to bring a few ideas for your consideration of possibly successful civil society interaction with the G8. First of all is that civil society when it is at its best gives the voice to those who have been left behind by globalization and it fights for the universal extension of human rights and even the benefits of globalization. And this remains through regardless of where the summit is held in a given year. Secondly – networking, connections. NGOs and civil society have been more successful when it coordinated its activities in coalition with others, both domestically and regionally and internationally; in this case the impact can be much greater. Third is the awareness of links, the interconnected nature of various issues; and civil society is usually very good at this. One particular practical point that comes to mind would be the potential of the linkage between energy security and environment this year. Then the use of information and communication technologies has been very important in empowering civil society and makes it possible to interact, to communicate, to plan and so forth much more easily. Number five – thorough knowledge of the actual G7/G8 system and G8 process is very important for civil society: in order to be successful you have to know the rules of the game. Six, the dialogue and lobbing needs to begin very, very early in the summit process. The agenda formation usually begins at least a year in advance of each summit; and if NGOs are coming at the last minute, the likelihood of impact is much smaller. Seven – the realization, that G8 is just part of a much larger continuum of international meetings. Not necessarily the most important be concentrate here on it, but there is a context of other international conferences, be it UN, WTO, Kyoto and others. Eight – being ready to be either reacted, reacting to agenda of the G8 itself, and projected, trying to move for other issues. Nine, and I am coming to the end – to isolate those elements that are potentially destructive or violent. It is the interest of the larger civil society to do so especially in demonstrations. Ten, weighing very carefully the costs and benefits of participating or not participating. Some NGOs make a principled decision to stay away, not to participate. That is fine, but prices then: if you do not participate, you lack any possibility of influence or impact. Eleven is when particular host-country is not willing to encourage dialogue with civil society, NGOs can still be effective in talking with other parts of the host-country or talking with other G8 governments. That has been on to happen. Finally, the historical record of civil society activism shows that government initiatives to civil society are very important, but NGOs do not have to take their ideas completely from government. Civil society will develop strategies on its own terms as well.
Thank you very much. I think that was extremely important for us to hear that. Now I am giving the floor to our colleague Mr. Peter Ritchie, who will speak about the last year experience of Great Britain.
Ladies and gentlemen. I would like to first acknowledge Ms. Pamfilova’s achievement of bringing this meeting together under difficult circumstances. I think, this gathering although maybe incomplete in terms of participation we should make the best of this opportunity that you have been able to put together. I am going to perhaps just give some general views and some specific recommendations.
All these processes are learning of the job. I mean my certainly last year’s process was learning of the job, experience for us in the UK; and a little bit the same for yourselves in Russia and I am sure in Germany and beyond. Well, same I am sure that we can provide some sort of continuity and that should be something we should seek out. It is not just ourselves relearning of the job, it is the governments themselves. Each G8 government that takes on the hosting of the summit has no or very little institutional wares for the position quite often. I think it is important for the process perspective that we focus on perhaps three elements here: inputting into the process; the role of civil society organizations (where I include business within the “civil society” definition) in the delivering of the commitments that will be made in Saint-Petersburg and ongoing processes. Open and transparent process is very, very important with clear objectives. So, that is perhaps something that before the entering to the workshops we should perhaps provide a little bit more clarity on the objectives of the workshops, what outputs are going to be and where these outputs are going to go. In terms of the themes I think it has been indicated within the agenda; and we are going to brake out into focusing on the key themes of energy security, health and education. That is great, but we should also seek some crosscutting issues. I think that is very, very important; there are impacts that energy have and health and education. And we should seek those, discuss them and make some specific recommendations on those. During last year’s process this was achieved by linking climate change adaptation to Africa agenda. And it was rather successful. So, we should try to do the same. We should focus on way we can make it difference within these themes. We should not cover the waterfront, which governments have to do. We should really focus on where we think governments can make it difference and where there is a role for civil society.
Also within the themes we should remember, not to forget about what actually occurred in previous summits. Last year there was a climate change, the clearing sorting climate change and energy security. And we should make sure that we put those on the table. We should not forget about the work that was done on Africa last year; and we should follow that strand. The outputs from this meeting (again just to return to the outputs) are presumably at the first point going to go to the Sherpas. We should really make a formal request to the Sherpas; and they should feedback to us on what they are going to do with our recommendations. This will help us continue to form our ideas as a group as the process unfolds towards Saint-Petersburg. Saint-Petersburg itself.
I think we should get into workshops as soon as we can and start really working, because this is the last minute. I think the Sherpas were here from this afternoon, but I think they are quite far done line in putting together the text for the communiqué. So, we have to be very responsive and very quick. But moving on… Saint-Petersburg communiqué, when the one that is issued, we have to respond to that. And we should respond to it by clearly understanding what commitments the governments vented into and the role of civil society in assisting them in implementing those commitments, where we feel that is appropriate. And that should be an ongoing process and again I’ll point to last year.
Two major strands that came up at Gleneagles was Africa Partnership Forum being reconstituted and there is a high-level meeting of Africa Partnership Forum in May this year and in October here in Moscow. And I know that there is a real group of NGOs, civil society and business focused on this process. And that is a good thing. And through Ms. Pamfilova’s process you know that there is a civil society meeting scheduled around the high-level meeting in October. So, we should follow that very, very closely. In terms of climate change there was “G8 plus five” process with a ministerial scheduled for earlier October. And there is again the beginning of the process, a civil society process around that. So, when we look at Saint-Petersburg outcomes we should seek to again put other civil society processes around these commitments.
I think the key lesson from last year really was the linkage between advocacy, behind the doors advocacy, and public initiatives like “Make Poverty History”, global campaign against poverty. They had a mass of impact and were extremely effective and engaging the public in these issues. And currently Stock Climate K….. is doing the same in UK on climate change. We should be looking towards the German presidency and the Japanese Presidency in terms of how we can link Gleneagles, Saint-Petersburg and onward. I am going to rack up now with just five points. Just to reiterate, I think we should be seeking crosscutting issues and themes. We should focus on very specific recommendations. They should be relevant to the discussion that the Sherpas are having; so, it will be interesting to hear from the Sherpas this afternoon what direction they are about. And we should focus our inputs on what they are actually doing. They should be practical; they should be something that governments can do. And we should not necessarily strive for consensus. I think there is the richness of debates and ideas we should be putting across. It is up to governments to reach consensus; it is not up for civil society to do that. We should use all the entry-points. This is just one of the entry-points. In all the G8 governments, across all the relevant ministries and departments civil society organizations can input very effectively. We should really try to find the role of civil society and business in implementing commitments. We should as it has been mentioned look at the other intergovernmental processes to actually follow these themes. The G8 is very, very influential and will impact on other legitimate processes, but we have to follow up with those other legitimate intergovernmental processes and regional and national institutions. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Ritchie. We really appreciate your experience. Now I would like give the floor to Tatiana Monegen, who is Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce in Russia. I would like to add at. Public organisations representing business interests take active part in all civil G8 projects. And representatives of the regions as well as representatives of NGOs took active part. And we hope that they will be deeply involved in the processes of discussions.
Thank you, Ella Alexandrovna. Good day, friends. We shall speak on interaction between the civil society and the G8. Why do we need it? How do we do it? The first question is about, what is a civil society. This notion is directly related to the social institutions and to the organisations forming the base of a functioning civil society as compared to the governmental structures. There are lots of opinions of how we should understand this notion. I would prefer to use the UN definition. The International Chamber of Commerce, the international business entity that was set up in 1920 to further international business, trade, investments, developments of open markets, developments of trade and business and services to further the free capital flow. Belgium, Britain, France, Italy and the United States were the first countries participating in ICC. Now it comprises 130 participants with the head office in Paris and the representatives from all these countries. I am the Secretary General of the Russian National Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce for Russia. We started working here in 2000 and we were present in the ICC the interests of the Russian business and the interests of the foreign business active in Russia. Our scope of activity comprises first of all arbitration, lobbing, open trade markets, economy. We are initiators of the movement in the world – fighting commercial crime, fights criminal acts in trade. Last year ICC participated with UN on these activities. Later we started working with other intergovernmental organizations. In 1945 in San-Francisco the International Chamber of Commerce got the highest consultative status working with the UN and its specialized agencies. Since then ICC has been doing everything to strengthen the status of this entity worldwide. Therefore you can understand why ICC becomes a partner of the G8; because it presents the position of the business circles on the most crucial issues which does not always correspond to the G8 stands. Since 1990 when George Bush met in Huston with the leadership of ICC the chair of G8 traditionally has been meeting with the president of the International Chamber of Commerce to get an opinion of business-circles on the basic current problems. For instance, in 2003 in Evian ICC moved forward the issue of the world economic growth. In 2004 we worked on the development and acceleration of trade developments. Last year since ICC is working a lot on furthering Africa issues we discussed the security, intellectual property and free trade markets in Africa. Now ICC is preparing the international business stand which we will further on hand on to the G8 representatives. We do not yet know the official stand of G8. That is why for the time being we can say a few words about why the international community focuses so much on the civil society. No government can efficiently and effectively manage its economy without having a dynamic and developing civil society. This is a must for the flourishing of the society; because states with non-developed economy have no developed civil society institutions. We should undertake strong commitments for the country we live in. The split between business, government and society can cause a lot of damage to the development of the country. It is absolutely clear besides that the cooperation between these three columns is a necessary condition for ideal moving forward. It is especially important for Russia today, when our civil society is young and being developed. The process of setting up informal organizations indicates strengthening civil society in Russia. The process is very active. These entities discuss with the government the problems they face to find solutions. Some businessmen now finance non-commercial organizations, support charity activities; because commercial entities are the main source of funding in Russia, forming various foundations. What is more important that their contribution is growing on continuing basis. That is why we can see future of Russia with optimism. When you think about civil society do not forget private business too, please. You can count on business. You can count on it as your main partner with whom you can cooperate, because nongovernmental entities supported by private business can work together maintaining a very good dialog and collaboration. That is why with every year business as an element of civil society strengthens its ties with the G8. By the way ICC initiated in the world the process of making other public organizations and associations which present business interests an active part of the dialog between civil society and G8. Thank you.
Thank you, Tatiana. Now, before going to the workshops I would like to say the following. At the beginning of my presentation I forgot to tell you the statistics of those present here. So, let me tell you a few words.
There are around 100 representatives of foreign and international NGOs. According our preliminary estimates they represent 30 countries, including all G8 countries. Later on I shall get the data from the registration file and I shall see the exact number of them. We also invited our colleagues and partners from the countries of former USSR. There are lots of representatives from them here, around 20 organizations from CIS countries and other ex-USSR countries. This is very important for us. I would like to say once more it is important, because it shows that there are really lots of foreign partners who can be quite critical about what we are doing, but they are still ready to interact with us. And now when we are holding round-table meetings I would like to ask you to listen to how our foreign colleagues worked in previous years, learn from their experience and, please, do not focus only on purely Russian problems and challenges.
I want us to become an equal rights and adequate part of this global international process. Of course, a lot depends on whether we will be capable of forming and wording very sound and legible recommendations for the G8 summit in July. Please, try to do your best, try to enjoy communicating with each other, discussing these issues. It is very important.
Now, the second thing. I would like to say a few words on how we shall be working further on. Please, give your suggestions and comments to what I shall say. First of all I would like to say that right now the web-broadcasting of our meeting is on. And if Sherpas do not mind meeting with them also will be broadcasted. I suggest by the end of our Forum tomorrow afternoon we shall form our stand, our suggestions to hand them over to Sherpas. And in July depending on the organizations, entities and your suggestions we suggest to hold such an international forum. And maybe analyze during that event what was the official reaction to our recommendations and maybe work out some suggestions for future agenda. We also mean to hold a round table meeting on Africa since this is a very major issue right now. At the end of the year we plan to hold a closing conference that we could give relay to our colleagues from Germany. This is the approximate, preliminary agenda of this year’s activities. And this framework, of course, will depend on your comments and suggestions. Now, let me tell you in which halls the round tables on which themes will be held. The volunteers and our employees could show you around.
Round table on energy security takes place in Volga-hall. (There are lots of people subscribed for it, the majority of our participants are there. If there some problems we have an additional hall for those who will have no place there.)
Education is in Enisey-hall. Next is combating spread of infectious diseases in Angara-hall. You see, all the halls are named after the Russian rivers.
Round-table on international trade, financing for development and intellectual property is in Dvina-hall.
Next workshop – fighting terrorism. This is Don-hall. It is a lesson in geography. For all the representatives of NGOs who would like to discuss other issues we have Selenga-hall. I do not think there will be too many issues you would suggest discussing in future separately.
Now, we work with you till 4 p.m. with a lunch-break. At 4 p.m. Russian Sherpa Mr. Igor Shuvalov accompanied by other G8 countries Sherpas including EU Sherpa are going to join us in this hall. Let me tell you a little about this that you can discuss it in your round-table sessions. Mr. Shuvalov will deliver a report with information; please, think who of you would like to make short report from 3 to 4 minutes, a representative of each round-table. Then Sherpas will deliver their speeches saying what they would like to see from us, to hear from us, how they would like to dialogue with us. So, please, see that our international partners to be represented on an equal basis. So, that there are not only Russian speakers discussing with Sherpas. Please, try to make no discrimination between nations. For certain issues if we do have an opportunity you will be able to ask questions to Sherpas. Expect questions from them as well. We shall work like this from 4 till 6 p.m. Thank you. Go ahead. I would like to say once more – enjoy communicating with each other. I wish you every success. Thank you.